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SUNSET SERVICE Ensure your fast-breaking feasts attract business this Ramadan

July 2010 • Vol 06 • Issue 07

POLE POSITION How culinary competitions are driving regional F&B progress


An ITP Business Publication | Licensed by Dubai Media City

Contents Volume 6 Issue 07



Cover story 49

Contents July 2010

05 News Financial crisis benefits recruiters; hotels embrace known F&B brands; operators must be ready to refresh stale outlets 08 Travellers of taste How the Middle East is ideally positioned to take advantage of the growing market for culinary holidays 16 A colourful view Columnist Nigel Witham on how an outlet’s colour scheme sets the tone 17 To Abu Dhabi and beyond! Hakkasan COO Didier Souillat on the Michelin-starred brand’s expansion plans 20 Roundtable Competition organisers, participants and judges set the competitive world to rights

26 Breaking the fast Expert advice on how to keep operations running smoothly this Ramadan 32 The art of the matter How gastro-art has become a permanent fixture on the region’s dining scene 42 Ready, steady, cook! UAE chefs go head-to-head in Nestlé cooking comp 46 Smashing stuff Quality crockery and cutlery 49 Main event Give your party some pizzazz with the latest events equipment to hit the market 50 Product showcase Our pick of the top new F&B products


20 26 32 42

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July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Web contents

Online The online home of Editor’s pick

On camera

PHOTO TOUR: Hakkasan Checking out the new Michelin-star brand at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. The outlet is Hakkasan’s third worldwide.

Events evolution Accustomed to the Middle East’s glittering parties, glamorous corporate launches and unlimited budgets, the regional events industry ran into tough times when the financial slump hit. However, industry professionals agree that today, the events market is recuperating and evolving — bringing in new consumer demands, fresh trends and a much more confident market.


Breaking barriers How to combat the issues affecting F&B recruitment

Local growth

Dairy delights

Why don’t more chefs take advantage of local produce?

Why the health trend will not curtail demand for dairy

Most popular

1. UAE’s new 2. VIDEO: Michelin-starred outlet Habanos 3. PHOTOS: Cuban cigar evening still not 4. Training sufficient for F&B staff Address triumphs 5. The in MLA chef comp

Hilton to launch own-brand F&B outlets

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Caterer Middle East July 2010



H TEL GMS O A FOR FTRTEND EE Registe r now at w hotelie rmiddle ww. east. com/c onfere nces

BENCHMARKING · WORKSHOPS BRAINSTORMING · NETWORKING FEATURING PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS FROM: • Dubai Department of Tourism Commerce and Marketing • Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority • Kerzner International • Rotana • Premier Inn Hotels • Armani Hotel

• • • • • • •

Landmark Group Seven Tides Hospitality Accor Hospitality Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Jumeirah Group Layia Hospitality

• • • • • • •

Jinan Hotels and Resorts Viability Hospitality Consultants Citymax Hotels RMAL Hospitality TRI Hospitality Consulting Roya International Emaar Hotels and Resorts



News July 2010

Story of the month

Crisis was ‘blessing in disguise’

Recruiters laud positive impact of downturn on F&B industry hiring Despite the global gloom that has surrounded the recent financial downturn, it has had some extremely positive repercussions for the Middle East hospitality industry, according to recruitment professionals. Foodfund Internaitonal’s head of HRD — Middle East and London, Marianna Couvaras, said she felt “the whole global recession was a blessing in disguise for everyone”. “It made people more appreciative of the jobs they actually have, because I think everybody was getting a bit bolshy, thinking you could do anything and get paid any salary you wanted with massive bonuses, for actually doing very little,” she asserted. “Everything was overinflated. “So this financial downturn really cut things back down to size, and it also made employers choosier about who they decided to take on board, rather than just hiring masses of people for the sake of filling space. “We didn’t freeze recruitment or retrench anyone during the downturn,” continued Couvaras. “Instead we used it as an opportunity to train more effectively, to improve our processes and our systems, and to look at the way we recruit.” CD Kotze, F&B manager across Southern Sun’s UAE hotels Al Manzil and Qamardeen, agreed: “Sometimes [this region] got ahead of itself, in terms of what expectations people had when they came here and that resulted in people moving [jobs] for the wrong reasons. “The good thing about the working environment now is that people understand it’s not just about what you get in your bank account at the end of the month, it’s also how much respect you get at work, what your environment is like, how secure you are there, whether you’re empowered — those things are increasingly important.” Samer Abiad, assistant director of food and beverage at Al Bustan Rotana Dubai, agreed the slow period during the downturn had

Headline grabbers P6 Familiar food The consumer love of recognisable brands is driving a change in hotel F&B portfolios P6 Don’t rest on your laurels, warn experts Are your outlets still performing well, or do your culinary concepts need a makeover?

[L-R] Ziwa Htun, CD Kotze and Marianna Couvaras. allowed operators to focus on developing and retaining their existing staff. “We retrenched staff to various new properties rather than effect redundancies,” he explained. “Then we decided to cross-train our staff so they became multi-skilled — which they appreciated, since it enhanced their skill base and development, and which was helpful for us when we had fewer staff at a property.” Traders Hotel Dubai HR director Ziwa Htun pointed out that such preparation would be a boon to operators in any tough times to come. “Planning in this way stands you in good stead for the harder times,” he asserted. “When you go through a tough situation, you’ll be able to streamline operations — plus people will benefit in the long run. “The main thing we saw people concerned about was job security; once they knew that wasn’t an issue, and they were in fact being trained and developed further, they could continue with peace of mind,” he said. Southern Sun’s Kotze noted: “It’s very important for employees to see you keep your promises and remain strong during difficult periods. “That will help you grow your core of loyal staff, and the bigger that core is, the less turnover you will see in the long term.”

P6 Online opinions Ahead of Ramadan, our monthly web poll reveals your iftar preferences P7 Time to focus on new F&B talent Organisers of the MLA Black Box event explain why the industry needs to focus on attracting and retaining youngsters in the F&B profession

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July 2010 Caterer Middle East


News July 2010

Hotels embrace familiarity in F&B

Hospitality players divided on benefits of importing concepts versus developing in-house brands Hospitality groups across the region are turning to familiar brands to draw in diners — but top professionals remain divided on whether own-brand chains or independent names are a better investment. The Rezidor Hotel Group currently boasts four own-brand concepts: the Italian Filini Bar and Restaurant; French brasserie Verres en Vers; the Irish concept Sure Bar; and contemporary eatery RBG (Red Bar and Grill), which made its Middle East debut at Park Inn Muscat last year. The group’s senior vice president and chief operating officer Jaques Dubois explained: “Especially in Europe, the restaurant and bar business at hotels has always been a challenge, and in most cases loss-making. Our own F&B concepts provide the hotels with very attractive tools to improve this situation. “They are in line with the contemporary design of our hotels and strengthen the

Rezidor’s Jacques Dubois. Beer Café, and there are other places in the Middle East where it might work for us to replicate that experience. We have one open in Abu Dhabi now and we are talking about Doha, so there is a pattern there,” he said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to do a ‘house brand’, because we want every customer to have a different and unique experience in each of our hotels.”

Don’t let outlets get stale, say experts

This Ramadan, what will attract you to one restaurant’s iftar over another? A lavish, sumptuous dinner in a five-star setting.


A really good value meal deal.


An outlet that offers excellent service.


A venue suitable for the whole family.


A place I know, where they know me.




brand identity and awareness, and they can be implemented at an affordable rate.” Meanwhile Rotana’s Centro properties — the second of which launched recently in Dubai — will all feature the brand’s three trademark F&B outlets: bar, buffet and deli. Corporate vice president of F&B Helmut Arthold commented: “You know exactly what you’re getting — the same service, the same value, the same quality. “That means it feels familiar, so guests feels comfortable, and the business traveller away from home appreciates this.” However InterContinental Hotels Group vice president operations for Gulf Pascal Gauvin said while he appreciated the attraction of familiar brands, he did not believe devising in-house F&B concepts was the answer. “At IHG, we have associations — for example in Dubai we have the Belgian

Caterer Middle East July 2010

The region’s operators must keep on the pulse of current F&B trends if their outlets are to remain relevant, industry experts have advised. Helmut Arthold, corporate vice president of F&B for Rotana, commented: “F&B is by nature very trendy and very fast. So you have to keep an eye on your outlets and see whether they’re still in the right timeframe. Are they still relevant internationally? Are they still relevant in this part of the world?

“F&B is a very fast-paced game; you might develop a restaurant that thrives for a few years, then suddenly it will stop being successful.” Arthold said this practice was implemented across Rotana, with F&B renovations planned for some of the group’s older properties in the region, including Dubai’s Al Bustan Rotana. Ritz-Carlton Doha general manager Pep Lozano agreed staying abreast of consumer trends was vital. “Nowadays, especially in this part of the world, people

want to go out, they want to have fun and explore new things,” he noted. “When you go to a restaurant, it’s not just about the food — it’s about the whole concept on offer, so it’s important that every element works well together.” Lozano revealed the hotel would be revitalising some of its concepts in future. “We would like to create a more youthful concept with some of the restaurants,” he said. “Proposals have been submitted and we are considering them.”

Competitions draw new talent to sector Culinary events key to fostering F&B careers Cooking competitions have a vital role to play in drawing young talent into the industry, according to experts in the field. Speaking at the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Black Box Culinary Challenge last month, Alan Palmer — MLA’s global competition coordinator — explained: “Competitions allow young chefs the chance to work as a team, and to be creative outside their normal place of work. “Something like this really encourages junior chefs to build a career in the industry: they can compete, they can travel, they can take part in something established, creative and exciting.” Lachlan Bowtell, regional manager for Meat and Livestock Australia — Middle East and North Africa, added that competitions were essential in attracting youngsters to view the industry as a serious career. “I think globally, there’s a bit of an idea that people who work in the kitchen are service staff, just ‘servers of other people’,” he claimed. “If you consider a young person who starts out in IT, compared to someone working in the kitchen industry, they could earn three or four times as much. A junior chef would have to work like crazy for 10 years to get anywhere near that salary. “Because of that, we’re losing people; we’re not capturing them and drawing them into the industry,” continued Bowtell. “What we need to do is promote the field as a real skill, one that is respected — it’s a culinary craft, not servitude.” MLA’s Palmer added that there were plans in the pipeline to take the MLA competition to other areas of the Middle East. “So far, we’ve done two in Kuwait, two in Egypt and two in Jordan,” he noted. “We hope to go to Oman and we haven’t been to Qatar yet either. “Sometimes it’s difficult because there’s not a chefs’ association in some places,” he admitted. “You really need someone following up to make sure these things happen.”


3URXGSDUWQHURI MLA’s Palmer: competitions encourage young talent.


News analysis July 2010

TOURISM How the Middle East’s varied international food and beverage scene could make it the destination of choice for a new breed of food-loving traveller

Over recent years, consumers have shown an increasing interest in what they eat. Thanks to a boom in culinary-related media coverage, learning about food and trying exotic new cuisines has never been more popular. That means F&B is no longer just a subject for chefs: it now pervades many areas of life outside the professional kitchen, thanks to the rise of culinary fairs, celebrity chefs, cooking classes and farmers’ markets around the world. And according to Arabian Adventures operations manager Luc Delcomminnette, culinary tourism is taking off in a big way in certain parts of the world. “There are quite a number of experts in Europe and North America, offering those specialised holiday packages,” he observed. “The trend seems to be that today’s traveller wants to go somewhere exciting, but they also want to discover a bit more on their trip than just the destination from the traditional holiday perspective. “So these companies offer trips to the ‘hot spots’ for cuisine —


Caterer Middle East July 2010

France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, India, and so on. The focus is a holiday, but there’s a twist: it will incorporate cooking lessons, often in the local cuisine or looking into a distinctly local ingredient; discussions with a culinary professional, who can advise and discuss the particular cuisine; trips, such as visits to local farms, markets and producers; and tastings or special dinners.” So does the Middle East have the potential to become a hub for culinary tourism? Delcomminnette said he believed so, for two reasons. “Firstly, although many countries — such as the UAE — don’t promote their own national cuisine as such, there is a wide interpretation of Arabic food across the region. “The elements that go into this culinary genre certainly comprise many idiosyncratic elements which would appeal to visitors — for example, catching local seafood, or visiting local date farms, or trying Bedouin-style cooking practises,” Delcomminnette remarked. “But the other element which I think could also be highly appeal-

News analysis July 2010

ing for travellers is the fact that we have such an enormous variety of international chefs and cuisines here,” he continued. “One could come to Dubai and, within just one city, experience food and at the same time learn from credible sources about cuisines from different countries around the world. “So I think, with the diverse options here and the quality of the restaurants, there is undoubtedly potential for packages accommodating people who want to spend their holiday in a top destination and also experience a range of culinary skills and quality restaurants.” It seems that the foundations have already been laid for such packages. In addition to a multitude of exciting food and beverage concepts, all with their own unique selling points, increasing numbers of Middle East operators are offering creative culinary extras to entice the cuisine-conscious consumer. At Qatar’s Ritz-Carlton Doha, in addition to a wildly successful Festival of the Senses in May — a five-day extravaganza of elements to delight the senses, including cooking classes with top international chefs, specialist wine and cigar evenings, themed club nights and art exhibitions — regular inhouse cooking classes are also on offer. “These classes were launched to give the guests something fun and exiting to do while they are staying in the hotel, as well


Ritz-Carlton Doha’s Matthew Morrison.

special kids classes for children of 5-12 years old.

“Our cooking classes take place at least twice a month. The average price per person is QR 265 (US $73) and includes a three-course lunch. “We offer these classes across outlets — in either La Mer, Porcini or Lagoon Restaurant, depending on the theme. These themes cover a whole range of specialities, with classes such as All About Lamb, Finger Foods, Grilling and Chilling, A Tour Through India, Basic Bread Baking, Pastry Classes, Simply Italian and Chocolate, all of which are instructed by the appropriate Chef de Cuisine. “Afterwards, all participants receive their own recipe book covering the dishes from that class. “Several times a year we also offer speciality classes for kids and parents, such as gingerbread house decorating classes, Mommy and Me Cooking, and healthy cooking classes.” Matthew Morrison, executive chef, Ritz-Carlton Doha “Verre master classes are for all cooking enthusiasts, from curious diners who rarely set foot in the kitchen to aspiring chefs seeking new recipes and techniques. “Groups of up to eight first observe a cooking demonstration from the Verre team, before having the opportunity to try their hand at producing a threecourse Gordon Ramsay lunch. “Priced at AED 950 ($259) per person, the masterclass also instructs participants in the art of pairing wines with food.” Scott Price, executive head chef, Hilton Dubai Creek “Accommodating from eight to 80 people, L’atelier des Chefs gives guests the chance to cook their own meal in a professional yet friendly atmosphere, lead by our chef Gregory, and everybody will eat their meal together once the class is finished. “Open every single day except Sunday, our prices start from the lunch class at AED 120 ($33) and go up to AED 350 ($95) for our theme classes, which look more at preparation. “Most of our classes are for adults but we do offer “In addition to public classes, the entire atelier is available for private hire, for events such as birthday parties, dinners, team building or product launches.” Baptiste Aubour, manager, L’atelier des Chefs

as to build relationships with our local clientele and make them aware of all of our great restaurants and features,” explained the property’s executive chef, Matthew Morrison. “Ritz-Carlton actually established a culinary education centre at our Cancun property, so we are looking to mirror what they did there: we want to create our own culinary education centre and be the first property outside of North America to do this,” he revealed. “The centre would be the first of its kind in the Middle East, offering a wide variety of classes and seminars for everyone, right across the board, from the home gourmet all the way up to professional chef level.” At Hilton Dubai Creek — home to Gordon Ramsay’s first restaurant in the region, Verre — cooking classes were introduced to “engage culinary enthusiasts with the Gordon Ramsay food concept in a more meaningful way”, according to executive head chef Scott Price. “Gordon has always been a strong advocate for demystifying the art of good cooking and supports the master class concept in many of his restaurants,” explained Price. “The response to these classes has been overwhelmingly positive, and in fact they have become a legitimate revenue and client base for the restaurant,” he added. “The key point of difference offered through our classes is that guests get the opportunity to experience the heat of a Gordon Ramsay kitchen, and to engage and identify closely with the Verre team and what we do.” Another hotel-based cooking class concept making an impression on visitors to Dubai is L’atelier des Chefs, located at Le Méridien Dubai: a ‘school’ for cooking, already well-established in France, Belgium and the UK. Dubai outlet manager Baptiste Aubour explained: “Our chairman Nicolas Bergerault had the great opportunity three

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


News analysis July 2010

years back to introduce the L’atelier des Chefs franchise to a group of general managers from Le Méridien. “Eventually it was decided to open the ‘flagship outlet’ of this new partnership in Le Méridien Dubai, not only for its location and traffic, but also because of its food and beverage reputation. “After more than a year of operations in Dubai, L’atelier des Chefs is now looking at expanding the concept to other Le Méridien hotels,” Aubour revealed. All around the region, chefs are similarly optimistic about the future of culinary getaway packages. Ritz-Carlton’s Morrison said he felt there was “great potential” for foodie tourism in the Middle East. “I think the best way to drive this market is for the restaurants and hotels come up with different food fairs and events together, to drive business for everyone here,” he suggested. “We should also devise offers like a restaurant week, where outlets offer a limited menu at a reasonable price to get guests to come and enjoy all the great things they offer.” At Hilton Dubai Creek, a couple of in-house culinary packages have already been developed — and are working well, according to Price. “Last year we introduced our Culinary Getaway Package, aimed at visitors from around the GCC who were looking for a culinary weekend escape. The package includes an overnight stay, a three-course à la carte dinner in Verre and a Hilton breakfast the next morning,” he said. “We have now also gone live with our Ramsay’s Foodie Weekend Package, which in addition to an overnight stay and breakfast includes a cooking master class with the Verre team.

Hilton Dubai Creek executive head chef, Scott Price.

News analysis July 2010

Aspiring cooks try their hand at whipping up lunch under the wachful eye of L’atelier des Chefs head chef, Gregory Khellouf. “The response has been very encouraging so far, and if more outlets the region’s cities are looking to attract travellers by offering somejoin the trend we anticipate a very promising new positioning for the thing more specific.” city,” Price asserted. L’atelier des Chefs’ Aubour agreed that the time was right for more Chefs and operators seem incredibly keen to develop the foodie tour- targeted tourism appeal. “When you compare Dubai, for example, ism market: so why have tour to other tourism destinations, it does not have the best operators not yet jumped on beaches in the world, nor the most typical desert, nor the bandwagon? amazing landscapes. It has had to promote itself by ofToday’s According to Arabian fering something different, playing to its own unique traveller wants strengths,” he observed. Adventures’ Delcomto discover a bit minnette, it’s not that “And what Dubai has understood — and can build tourism in Dubai is new upon further in future — is that it is the perfect hub more on their — but of course it is still between east and west; hence its current F&B status, trip than just the offering the best from every part of the world.” a young market compared destination” to the world’s long-standing According to Arabian Adventures’ Delcomminnette, holiday destinations. this is precisely the selling point that should be ex“Consequently, so far, the plored when developing culinary packages. focus of promoting the destination has al“The Middle East has the image of a truly quality destination, with ways been on its primary, existing a great deal to offer visitors,” he said. elements — the beaches, “And OK, so people may not want to come to Dubai on a culinary the hotels, the desert package that focuses specifically on French cuisine; for that, they will and so on,” explained go to France. Delcomminnette. “But if we take the diversity of options here and use that as a L’atelier des Chefs’ “But now the strength — or even choose to focus on the broad variety of Middle Baptiste Aubour. Middle East is Eastern cuisine and its local influences — then combine that with getting more and the top facilities and attractions that the region has to offer, I think more specialised, that would result in a very comfortable holiday.”

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Editor’s comment Volume 6 Issue 07

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 (0)4 210 8000 Fax: +971 (0)4 210 8080 Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham Publishing Director Diarmuid O’Malley Editorial Editor Lucy Taylor Tel: +971 4 210 8493 email: Staff writer Harriet Sinclair Tel: +971 4 210 8394 email: Advertising Publishing Director Diarmuid O’Malley Tel: +971 4 210 8568 email: Commercial Director Sarah Worth Tel: +971 4 210 8595 email: Int. Sales Manager, Hospitality & Catering Middle East & India Amanda Stewart GSM: +44 7908 117 333 email: Skype: amandajanestewart Studio Group Art Editor Dan Prescott Designer Lucy McMurray Photography Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav Production & Distribution Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager, ITP Business Matthew Grant Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Editor Emmalyn Robles Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Circulation Head of Circulations & Database Gaurav Gulati Marketing Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell ITP Digital Director Peter Conmy ITP Group Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K M Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 210 8000 Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact for further details or visit Printed by Color Lines Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck

Is food the new football? One could argue that in the modern world, cooking has become more like a professional physical sport than the craft or skill it was viewed as in years gone by. OK, so cooking may not be one of the staples of school PE lessons; and I have yet to see a group of men congregating in a field on Saturday afternoon for a quick five-a-side cook-off. But on the other hand, it is undoubtedly strenuous work, demanding a great deal of thought and bucketfuls of energy (and perspiration!) ‘Players’ require specialist outfits and equipment, and there are certain rules that must be followed to succeed — food safety and hygiene, to name just two. What’s more, it is a highly competitive field. Chefs are a proud lot: they aim for the top and strive for perfection, and nowadays there are a multitude of highprofile competitions in which they can prove their mettle. Such events seem to draw increasingly large crowds of eager onlookers — and as a result, this ‘spectator sport’ has made it big in the world of television as well. As foodie shows have grown in both number and popularity, from the easily digested Come Dine With Me to the grittier, more industry-focused Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, consumers have steadily been drawn into the exciting world of culinary competition. And now Middle East viewers can enjoy the ultimate in sport-like culinary stand-offs, with Iron Chef America: a spin-off of the Japanese TV show Ryori no Tetsujin (which literally translates as ‘Ironmen of Cooking’). Like the original, the US show is a dramatic fusion of culinary game show and all-out physical battle, with each episode seeing a new challenger chef going head to head with one of the panel of resident ‘Iron Chefs’, in a high-pressure live cooking competition against the clock. It can get extremely competitive — and although there are less dives than a football match and less fouls than a basketball game, the tension between competitors and the pressure in the kitchen is palpable. So maybe professional cooking is more of a physical sport in today’s world? And regardless of whether it is or not, anything that opens up the F&B industry to the public and encourages future chefs and restaurateurs has got to be good news.

The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

Lucy Taylor, Editor Audited by: BPA Worldwide Average Qualified Circulation 5,811 (Jul - Dec 2009)

Published by and Copyright © 2010 ITP Business Publishing,a division of the ITP Publishing Group Ltd.Registered in the B.V.I. under Company number 1402846.

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Comment F&B &B column


Tarish Making the season special. Ramadan is a time for celebration — but it is also a season that brings a whole range of challenges for chefs. Ramadan is always a special season, but especially so for me in my role as a chef — primarily because I know how much pleasure the food I’m serving gives people after a long day of work and, for the many fasters, walking around with empty stomach. Ramadan, like any other holy season, has its own special dishes and traditional foods. First we serve a selection of juices, water, dried dates and soups as a starter. Then, after prayers, we serve the dinner. At hotel restaurants, chefs will usually serve an open buffet for the iftar meal, featuring all the special Ramadan favourites such as Arabic rice dishes, hareesh, khanfrosh and logemat. At the same time, we will often have to cater for some private parties, or a separate Ramadan tent, often preparing food according to the host’s specifications. Last but not least, there is suhour time: the meal before sunrise, when fasting commences once again. At suhour, people order what they want from the menu — usually something light. This is all well and good, but for the kitchen team, there is another side to those attractive dishes we’re serving up. When you work in kitchen, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of pressure every single day; so you can imagine what happens during Ramadan, when some of the team are fasting and hungry! The fact that there is so much work to do in a short space of time steps the pressure up a notch, so people are more prone to getting nervous or angry than on normal days.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

Consequently, it can be a challenge to keep the work and the team’s emotions under control until the end of service. One Ramadan, I was working for big hotel in Dubai; we were preparing iftar, but work hadn’t gone well, so were running about 15 minutes late in serving the food. Anyone who has worked in this region will know how people can get, waiting for the moment of iftar after a long day of fasting; these are not people to mess with! As we ran overtime, the situation in the kitchen became fraught: the food hadn’t gone out, we were running around to get things finished — it was horrible! Everyone was working at lightening speed to finish as quickly as possible and feed those hungry people outside before they started shouting at us. But we pulled together and worked hard that day, and finally served the meals so everyone was happy. Another challenge you may encounter, if you have new staff on your team from different parts of the world, is whether they can make authentic Arabic cuisine.

F&B plays a key role during Ramadan.

This can present problems to start with, but they just need some guidance and some time to learn and appreciate tasty traditional Arabic dishes — and, as any F&B professional will know, since Ramadan preparations should begin well in advance of the actual month, there will be plenty of time for practice! Before long, they will be whipping these dishes up without any help. If you are a new chef to the UAE, experiencing Ramadan for first time, there are a few things you can do to ensure success over the holy month — or indeed any celebratory season. Firstly, make sure you are familiar with your new kitchen and all the ingredients used in traditional Arabic food, such as the various spices. Secondly, be aware of traditional cooking methods that old-school chefs employ. Remember, you can always ask chefs with more experience in the region for advice; most here are very helpful. Thirdly, try looking at some classic Arabic food books. That can help you to know more about the history of the food and its place in the culture. The only other tip I can give you for this season is to go out there, make great tasting dishes, have a big smile and make sure you serve that up along with the meals. I promise, it will make all the difference! Chef Musabbeh Tarish is a UAE national who has worked in the Middle East for the past eight years, enjoying stints with big names including Kempinski, Jebel Ali International Hotels, Jumeirah and Dubai World Trade Center. Tarish is currently taking a break from the world of cheffing to enjoy his latest role as a father, but has recently been working on a cooking series for Al Rai TV, which will be aired in Kuwait during Ramadan.

Comment Designer column


Witham How to use colour. When planning F&B outlets, there is more than one kind of palette to please. During my time in the industry, I have found that correct colour choices can help convey precise brand values and strategies, while the wrong choices can repel customers. So it’s vital for success to avoid making colour choices based solely on personal intuition. Here’s a short introduction to some simple colour psychology that will help you make rational business decisions about your decor. There are four fundamental colour groups: delicate, warm yellow-based colours; delicate, cool blue-based tones; intense, warm yellow-based colours; intense, cool blue-based colours. Sometimes these groups are called the spring, summer, autumn and winter colour palettes. Each palette contains neutral and accent colours. In the photo below, for example, all the neutrals are browns and creams and the accents are reds and oranges; this is the autumn palette. Each colour palette stimulates the brain

in different ways and so conveys different emotions. When colours from two or more palettes are mixed, they can look disharmonious, consequently confusing our emotions and not conveying clear brand values. Harmonious designs that convey clear values should use only one colour palette.

The Spring Palette Spring colours are warm and essentially light tints, with the palette containing virtual primary colours that convey clarity. Spring palette greys have warmth and buoyancy, which is supportive of the delicate clear colours. The neutrals that support this palette are cream, camel and light grey. The values conveyed here are warmth, liveliness, optimism and simplicity.

The Summer Palette Summer colours are virtually all tones; this means they have a high percentage of grey

in them. The summer palette is subtle; dark colours feature and are never heavy, but delicate. Supportive neutrals include taupe, cool navy, mid-grey and oyster. The values conveyed here are relaxed, calm, elegant, graceful and understated.

The Autumn Palette Like the spring palette these warm colours express liveliness, but are more intense. This time the colours are mainly shades and vary between flamboyant strength and extreme subtlety. The best neutrals are warm browns. There is no pure grey in an autumn colour palette. These colours are associated with the natural environment; values conveyed are depth, substance, abundance and maturity.

The Winter Palette This palette contains very strong primary colours with stark contrasts between pure hues, extreme tints and extreme shades. Winter is the only palette that contains pure white and black. Supportive neutrals are black, white, charcoal, silver, grey and navy; there are no golds, creams or beiges. There are no emotional subtleties in the winter palette, just crystal clarity and power. If you’d like to know more about this fascinating subject, then I recommend reading A Beginners Guide to Colour Psychology by Angela Wright. We adopted the principles of this book in my practice some years ago, and it’s a choice that has benefitted both us and our clients.

Café Leoni, a UK coffee outlet designed by Nigel Witham, employs the autumn palette.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

Nigel Witham is an international designer and longstanding member of the Chartered Society of Designers. You can follow him on Facebook by searching for Nigel Witham Designer.

People Interview

As Michelin-starred brand Hakkasan opens its third outlet worldwide at Emirates Palace, operating officer Didier Souillat speaks to Lucy Taylor about the group ethos, staff training and the advancement of Abu Dhabi


ell us a bit about Hakkasan. The brand has been around for a few years now; we’re actually celebrating our tenth anniversary in a couple of months. It has progressed very nicely over the past nine years, and it’s a good time now to expand and develop it. Happily, we have really been given a fantastic opportunity by our chairman, His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi [managing director of Tasameem, an arm of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority] to do just that.

Tasameem’s majority share purchase of Hakkasan in 2007 also saw them gain a majority interest in another Alan Yau brand, didn’t it? Yes, Yauatcha; this is an all-day dim sum restaurant, also with a Michelin star, which is only established in London for the moment, but which we also anticipate we will expand into the right areas in future. But for the moment, our focus is on Abu Dhabi. Tell us about the designers you worked with on the Abu Dhabi project. Gilles & Boissier — they are French designers who have been our partners for a long time. They were also part of the Miami design team and the Christian Liaigre team that created the first Hakkasan London. They’ve been involved at every stage of the project. Does the new outlet have any local flavour in its design? It primarily had to reflect the original London Hakkasan, but the design also had to evolve. You won’t see the white marble in London, and also some of the patterns in the carved panels reflect the Arabic style and the designs you can see around Emirates Palace. Light seems to play a major role in the design as well. Light is essential; it’s part of those sense experiences that we want all our customers to experiment with. The lighting changes according to different times of the day, reflecting the overall mood, ambience and materials that are used. Esometrics is the lighting company we’ve been using for the past nine years, since the first Hakkasan opened.

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


People Interview

Apart from the lighting, what would you pick out as a stand-out design feature of the new outlet? The blue glass is a key factor for us; the fact that you can see the kitchen through blue glass is paramount in our concept, as well as its use in the bar area. Having a separate identity between the lounge and main dining area is also vital. You have different segments, so it still feels like a whole, but not like it’s just a big, empty 12000 square-foot space. The flow is very important too, not only from the service point of view, but also the customer’s, so they don’t feel like there’s all this ‘service’ going on around them.

Hakkasan’s Souillat: ‘There is nothing quite like Hakkasan in this region.’

You’re running the outlet under a management contract: did you bring your own staff in and conduct your own training, or did Emirates Palace assist at all? We brought the top management in from London — our head sommelier, head bartender and head trainer — then we did our own recruitment for staff and have conducted all the F&B training ourselves (although of course Emirates Palace gave an induction to the property and the local environment when our team arrived; it’s vital to understand such things when coming to work in this region). The management team will stay here for as long as it takes, then return to London and the team here will be autonomous. In the kitchen, apart from a British pastry chef, the team is wholly Chinese. But in the front-of-house there is a mixture of nationalities, with people from Myanmar, China, Turkey, Italy — it’s quite diverse. The main dining area at Hakkasan Abu Dhabi. Will operations here be different in any way to the other two Hakkasan outlets? There is only one item on the menu that has alcohol — our signature silver cod with champagne sauce and honey. But some of the recipes that had a wine base in London we have managed to recreate here with marinades of Chinese spices, and really you don’t miss it. And we have no pork ribs here, but we have fantastic beef ribs. So yes, we have adapted to the market — which is important to do whenever you move into a new region. The UAE is a competitive market; what will Hakkasan offer diners that other outlets don’t? There are a lot of very good restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; I just think we have a bit of an edge. Our take on Chinese cuisine is modern Cantonese food, and there is no other concept quite like that in this region. Being in Emirates Palace is also a plus, and I think the features — not just the food, but the whole layout and its appeal to the senses — will fill the place up. What’s your view on Abu Dhabi’s status as a destination? One of the reasons we’re here is that Abu Dhabi development


Caterer Middle East July 2010

plans over the next five years are absolutely incredible! So we want to be a part of that, and be a destination for guests after they have spent the day at the golf courses, the museums, and the other attractions that are being built. Hakkasan has been flagged up for global expansion in future; when you have a high-end brand with a good reputation, do you think there’s a limit to how far you can expand it while still retaining that exclusivity? There is obviously a certain market for this brand, so we are not thinking of opening Hakkasan by the dozens. However, we are a well-priced offer and we do want to give people around the world the opportunity to enjoy that. We will be opening in Mumbai, hopefully quite soon, to give people in that region the chance to taste our food. That could be towards the end of the year. We also have one definite opening in the pipeline, which is Mayfair Hakkasan, opening around Christmas. Regarding Yauatcha, we need to get the brand ready to be exported before developing that elsewhere.

Roundtable Culinary competition

CULINARY A group of F&B professionals with a range of competition experience met up at the delicious Downtown Deli in Dubai Mall this month, to consider why culinary contests are integral to industry progress — and why Middle East events still need some refining In what way do food and beverage competitions help advance the industry? Raimund Haemmerle: I think for young chefs, it’s a great opportunity to learn something — to get out there, see what other people are doing, and push themselves; and this all helps to raise standards within the industry.

TAKING PART (from left to right) • Eranga Naleendra, chef, Downtown Deli and winner of the gold medal for Best Gastronomist at Salon Culinaire 2010 • Zain Sidhu, advisory chef, Nestlé Professional • Raimund Haemmerle, executive sous chef, Dubai World Trade Centre • Michel Miraton, culinary director, Faisal Holding Hotels and vice president

Michel Miraton: For young chefs, it’s good to get outside the hotel, to see something different and experience a new way of working.

junior development for the Emirates Culinary Guild • Rebecca Sturt, bar training and development manager, MMI • Christophe Prud’homme, executive chef, Al Bustan Rotana Dubai

Michael Kitts: Culinary events are a bit like a fashion show; chefs will see small details or perhaps whole works that are new to them, they will be inspired by those elements and take ideas away from the show. And certainly from a student perspective, competitions really


Caterer Middle East July 2010

• Michael Kitts, head chef and senior lecturer, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management • Wael Riachy, executive chef, Unilever Foodsolutions Arabia

Roundtable Culinary competition

COMPETITION do inspire them to aim higher each time, and get involved in other competitions, because they get a real buzz from it.

Zain Sidhu: And from another perspective, competitions also help us highlight our products: for example, chefs get the opportunity to try out a new item and get creative with it in a way they might not have tried in the workplace. Then we can get feedback from them about how to improve our products to really meet their needs.

Eranga Naleendra: My personal opinion is that competitions can also offer chefs taking part a refreshing change. We are used to spending our time in the kitchens at our property, cooking for guests, and if that’s all you do you can get stale. So getting outside your comfort zone, going somewhere new and cooking for a different audience can be really enjoyable.

Wael Riachy: For us, we are looking to showcase the diversity of our brands through the events we organise, and give the chefs a broad view of their applications.

Rebecca Sturt: From an organiser’s point of view, what we’re really aiming to accomplish with our competitive events is to bring the industry together. I know, for the beverage industry, things have changed massively since competitions were introduced to the region, and I think it’s helped put the Middle East on the global map, because people who win events here are then going to do very well in the global finals — which didn’t happen 10 years ago. So the competition scene is really an opportunity for us to show what we have here and bring the region to the world’s attention.

Culinary competitions are comparatively new in the Middle East; how does the standard at events here compare to more established foodie regions? Kitts: I’ve been in this region for 10 years, and there have definitely been massive improvements in the industry, particularly with regards to the standard we’re seeing at competitions. But I think in a hot kitchen things are still a little bit flaky; sometimes people try to put too much on a plate, or use too many flavours. Also, looking at the arena these competing chefs are working in,

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Roundtable Culinary competition

what can be a bit disappointing is when it’s all about numbers: people wanting to say they’ve got 1500 entrants. To me, that’s wrong. You’d be better off getting quality people, who would then raise the standard, as opposed to thinking ‘right, he’s got legs — let’s stick him in a competition so we have more of our people involved’.

Riachy: But it is a good learning and development opportunity for those chefs who do take part. It often acts as a real confidence boost, and they can take the skills they learnt there and transfer them into their everyday roles. But going back to how competitions here compare with other regions, I think we need to look at other areas of the Middle East, so we have a spread of competitions around the region rather than everything concentrated in a few areas; that way, we will be better able to compare ourselves with more established hubs.

Christophe Prud’homme: It all stems from the basis that hotel restaurants should be allowed to select their own candidates for these events. Because if the group tells you ‘right, the pastry competition is big, we need to send all our pastry chefs’, that is not the right approach. Organisers The point is that you send those who are capable need to ensure of competing at the required standard. Because if there is sufficient they’re floundering and out of their depth, what is the point of going? time for judges to

give feedback”

Kitts: If someone is just making up numbers, not only is it demoralising for them, but it also means you’re splitting valuable resources and time which could be better employed with serious contestants. Miraton: A culinary competition, for me, is more about participating; I think sometimes you have to participate to fully understand the event and the standard of the other competitors, and learn from it. Having said that, there is no need to put 20 or 30 chefs through just for the sake of it.

What other issues crop up with regards to furthering the region’s competitive status? Riachy: As organisers, there are so many F&B competitions nowadays that you have to really differentiate yourselves to encourage attendance. Plus many chefs now are short-staffed on their teams, so they cannot attend everything.

Kitts: There are a lot of competitions around. I think a lot of them could easily be made every two years, rather than annually, because it can get too much. Sidhu: Several of our big competitions are biannual — Menus of the Masters, for example, and Female Chef of the Year. You don’t want to inundate chefs with the same thing over and over. If you make an event less frequent, it’s a bit more special, a bit more of an attraction.

[L-R] Michel Miraton, Christophe Prud’homme, Michael Kitts and Eranga Naleendra chat over refreshments at Downtown Deli.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

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Miraton: Salon Culinaire is fantastic, and that’s run every year. However it can be challenging for the organisers, as you have a lot to do, you have to push things, give feedback — it’s not easy.

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Sturt: For the Platinum Fusion competition we’re setting up now, which involves both a food and a beverage element, the biggest issue we’ve encountered is trying to find a venue. We need to put an open kitchen and a bar next to each other, which hasn’t been easy! But going back to the idea of frequency, we try to make sure we only hold three competitions a year, and that they are all distinctive events focusing on different groups. You don’t want to overwhelm the industry, otherwise they won’t take your events seriously.

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What about the difficulties that the competitors themselves face? Prud’homme: At last year’s Salon Culinaire, we lost two showpieces; the guys got them there OK, but in the back-of-house area there were a lot of people moving around and getting set up, and two pieces got broken. That’s really sad when you’ve been working on something for two or three months; it’s extremely demoralising for the chefs. But these things do happen.

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Roundtable Culinary competition

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That’s why organisation, space and logistics need to really be thought out properly at big events, otherwise people will suffer. Naleendra: I think going into a competitive event like Salon Culinaire, with so many other people there, is pretty tough — particularly for a new competitor. You’ve got to keep your nerve and keep your wits about you, and just do what you do best. But I have to say, one of the elements I liked about this year’s event was the international judging panel; they were strict, but you really felt like you were competing on a global level. Haemmerle: We have been competing in the Salon Culinaire for many years now, and in the five-course plated category, the criteria have remained the same, but of course in the judging, personal opinion does come into it. So the points can vary a great deal, and there is no definitive right or wrong answer. One year a competitor could get the gold medal, the next year he gets nothing — and that can be difficult for the chef to understand. Sidhu: That’s why it’s really important to make sure you get the right judges. They should be unbiased, not give preferential treatment and must certainly be able to give constructive feedback. Kitts: I think getting someone who can offer good feedback is key, as well as someone who can understand the stress and pressure that the competitors are under. That plays a big part, because these guys can be really nervous. I also think a judge should be up to date with F&B trends, and also open-minded; so although he might not like something personally, he should be able to recognise if it is well executed. Riachy: When we find judges, we try to look for chefs of different cultures and nationalities, so they can appreciate different flavours. And for sure, they need knowledge of judging and experience in the field.

[L-R] Lucy Taylor, Wael Riachy, Zain Sidhu, Rebecca Sturt and Raimund Haemmerle. SWISS MADE

Roundtable Culinary competition

The participants discuss what difficulties both organisers and competitors can encounter when taking part in a culinary event. Prud’homme: Judges also need to see input from the organising committee. At the end of the day, the people running the event know what they are looking for in a winner, and they should make the criteria clear to their panel. Haemmerle: Organisers also need to ensure there is sufficient time, even in a large competition, for the judges to give feedback and explain what was right and what was wrong to anyone who wants more information. Prud’homme: That really requires the event to be well planned, because it can be a wearing process for the judges too — up at 6 o’clock, judging the same sort of thing all day, giving their feedback, going back to their hotel exhausted in the evening, then getting up to do exactly the same thing the next day! Kitts: I have to say, how on earth can you have a competition [like the Salon Culinaire] that has hot meat and fish classes for four days? The judges turn up at 7 o’clock in the morning and sit there all day long, judging fish. There could be 90 plates of fish. Who on this planet can judge 90 plates of fish in one day, and then give out one gold medal? It’s ridiculous! This is why I think Gulfood should be a cut-and-paste Olympia, or Birmingham, or somewhere like that. You have a fish class with 10 people, a lamb class with 10 people,

a pasta class with 10 people — and you have a nice theatre where the guys are not stuck in a crummy corner, but rather working on beautiful individual stations, where it’s a proper theatre and people can watch. It’s less slap-dash, more together and much more interesting. Haemmerle: I think freeing up the categories a bit more could help; every year in the fish class you see salmon, salmon and more salmon — so maybe we could let them freestyle a bit more, open it up to some creativity. Sidhu: I think if they did a proper classification of classes — for example a back to basics field, where there just given a whole chicken to see what they can do and have to cut it down, de-bone it, then prepare it — then you could properly see each competitor’s creativity and their technical skills, rather than just giving them a chicken breast. Kitts: On my life, I’ve known incidents where the judge has asked a guy in the fish class ‘how many times have you practised this?’ and he’s said today is his first time cooking it. How can a chef send a guy along to compete, who’s never even done it? That’s not the kind of attitude you want to encourage. We need to streamline the classes and raise the standard of entrants if we want to raise the bar in these culinary events.

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


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Industry insight Ramadan

Breaking the fast F&B professionals from both front- and back-of-house offer expert advice on how to make a great impression this Ramadan


uring the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, food and beverage takes on a great significance for the fasting Muslim population. The daily pre-sunrise suhour and post-sunset, fast-breaking iftar meals occur throughout the month, with many choosing to go out to eat on these festive occasions — and consequently, for F&B outlets around the Middle East, Ramadan is one of the most demanding and competitive months of their commercial year. For these operators, balancing top quality with affordable prices and good value — while simultaneously standing out from the masses — is no mean feat. To make this month a commercial success for an outlet, frontand back-of-house teams must work closely together to achieve the very best for their operation in terms of food, service and most importantly the overall guest experience.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

The F&B director perspective For the duration of Ramadan, certain laws must be observed by operators in the Middle East, which means the region’s diverse international hotel brands must ensure both staff and outlets are prepped and ready to handle the necessary changes and convey them to guests. Four Points by Sheraton Downtown and Sheikh Zayed Road complex F&B manager Gregor Kiefer explains that some outlets will remain closed until evening, while those that remain open — with diners discreetly concealed from public areas — will not serve alcohol before sunset. Alfred Abi Moussa, F&B director at Crowne Plaza Dubai, adds: “It’s important to give orientation and refresher training to staff, to remind them of the operational changes during Ramadan.” Similarly, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa conducts cultural training for all staff members, to “better understand this

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Top tip “Proper planning, timing, and cooking from the heart is essential — as is tasty food!”

special time of the year and focus on guests’ needs”, explains executive assistant manager of food and beverage Marcus Loevenforst. Such laws mean that F&B revenue will necessarily take a bit of a knock during the Ramadan season, as Riyadh Marriott Hotel director of F&B Raed Handal notes. “Eating, drinking, smoking or any similar activities are not allowed in public places, and in Saudi Arabia all the F&B outlets remain closed during the daytime; so revenue has always been covered by iftars and suhours,” he says. “People in Saudi Arabia believe in spending and in charity during this holy month, and our previous Ramadan figures have been very pleasing — but this year Ramadan coincides with the schools’ summer vacations, so a lot of people will be going home. Consequently, we are forecasting a slower and steadier month compared to previous years.” In Dubai, Four Points’ Kiefer predicts “approximately 20% less

Emmanuel Pauliat, executive

revenue than normal” during Ramachef, Crowne Plaza Dubai dan, due to the closure of some outlets. “However after last year, when obviously we still felt the effects of the global financial crisis, I expect to see more companies treating their staff with a Ramadan outing this year,” he asserts. Crowne Plaza’s Moussa also points out that “revenue this August will be further affected by region’s the traditionally quiet summer period”, which will coincide with an earlier Ramadan this year. This may mean that Ramadan revenues on the F&B front dip even more than usual, according to Ritz-Carlton’s Loevenforst. But he adds: “By addressing wholesalers and FIT’s well in advance, and addressing the various special requirements, we are still very confident that our Ramadan celebrations will be extremely successful.”

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


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Industry insight Ramadan

Top tip “Be on time and have the food freshly prepared.”

Ramadan decorations at Ritz-Carlton Bahrain.

It is not all about cutting back at outlets: one area where operators can really go to town is the décor. Karl Blunden, complex executive “We are working closely with local celebrity designchef, Four Points by Sheraton Downtown and Sheikh ers to create a very special Ramadan atmosphere in our Zayed Road permanent tent, Al Khayma,” Loevenforst reveals. “And we will present this fantastic, specially designed Ramadan tent in partnership with a very strong promotional co-partner.” Riyadh Marriott Hotel places similar emphasis on setting, and has hit on a popular Ramadan theme, explains director of F&B Raed Handal. “Four years ago, we introduced the theme of Bab El Hara [a popular Arabic television series screened during Ramadan] and the people of Riyadh like it so much we have continued it each year since,” he says. “We will make a few changes to the theme this year, but the whole restaurant area will be transformed into a Bab El Hara style set, with all the relevant antique decorations and lighting. There will even be specially made uniforms for the F&B staff!” Of course, with an ever increasing pool of competitors vying for the same business, it is even more important this year to stand out. Setting and décor is one way to do so, particularly for those with a reputation in this field — as Ritz-Carlton’s Loevenforst notes. “It has now become the norm that our guests look to us for something special and different each year at Ramadan,” he says. “This year we will surprise them once again, with the best tent in the city.”

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Meanwhile Crowne Plaza’s Moussa emphasise the property’s belief in “our people, our quality and our great value for money” in putting them ahead of others in the iftar and suhour stakes. Marriott’s Handal adds that customer feedback has shown that hotel’s visitors are on the look out for “food quality, presentation and service”, which he feels are vital areas to focus on while simultaneously ensuring the property delivers “a theme which gives Arabian people a sense of home and others a chance to enjoy a new experience”.

The chef perspective Meanwhile, for those heading up the kitchens, there is a different set of challenges to overcome during Ramadan. Crowne Plaza Dubai executive chef Emmanuel Pauliat explains that, in the fast-paced kitchen environment, manpower can be a challenge, “since many chefs are fasting, therefore their hours are reduced”. “However ensuring real team spirit will motivate them and keep things going,” he advises. Four Points by Sheraton Downtown and Sheikh Zayed Road complex executive chef Karl Blunden agrees that reduced hours can be an issue in kitchens, but says: “Ultimately, chefs are all aware of the importance of the

Top tip “Choose the best quality ingredients; planning and forethought in purchasing is key.” Steven Benson Flower, executive head chef, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah

Mezze plated up at Ritz-Carlton Bahrain.

What one thing would make your life easier this Ramadan? “Working less hours!” Alfred Abi Moussa, F&B director, Crowne Plaza Dubai “More staffing during breakfast, since everyone goes to the buffet at the same time.” Raed Handal, director of F&B, Riyadh Marriott Hotel “To have the best product to work with, and to have all my equipment working properly during this period.” Emmanuel Pauliat, executive chef, Crowne Plaza Dubai “Larger kitchens to be able to prepare in more space, as an average Iftar buffet is made up of a lot of dishes, so storage and preparation space is crucial.” Karl Blunden, complex executive chef, Four Points by Sheraton Downtown and Sheikh Zayed Road

Ritz-Carlton Bahrain’s Marcus Loevenforst.

“It would be good if there was a wider range of suppliers who were able to operate longer hours during the Ramadan period, as it helps us satisfy last-minute requests more easily.” Kennardo Holder, executive sous chef,

Iftar treats at Ritz-Carlton Bahrain.

The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


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Top tip

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah’s Steven Benson Flower.

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holy month and work together, and support the fasting chefs wherever possible.” “Presentation is key; the food must look enticing as well as tasting good.” However changed working hours can also affect supplier reliHassan Warda Bro, executive chef, Riyadh Marriott Hotel ability, notes Blunden. “You have to keep on top of things to make sure your ordered products come through when required,” he notes. With Ramadan coming during the region’s peak heat period, operators will also have the weather to contend with, points out Hilton Dubai Jumeirah executive head chef Steven Benson Flower. “This year the heat will take precedence as the biggest challenge of any Ramadan in the past five years,” he warns. “Outdoor activities such as barbeques and live shawarma cooking will be challenging for the team, but we are working on ways and means of alleviating this drain and creating practises and systems which will minimise the effect of the high temperatures,” Benson Flower explains. On top of these challenges comes a certain amount of pressure for the chefs, who know that guests have extremely high expectations of their iftar meals — an online poll at showed a majority of 38% felt a luxurious spread was the most important part of the celebration — and will leave disappointed if things are less than perfect. But Benson Flower says that a little pressure can work in a chef ’s favour. “Our team understands that Ramadan is very important for our guests, and happily go the extra mile,” he asserts. “Everyone really does pull together for this special month; it’s a group effort.” This is the refrain that F&B teams must remember during the coming month. Certainly it will be hard work, but this is an opportunity to show diners what your outlets have to offer — and once made, a good impression will last long after Ramadan has ended.

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Riyadh Marriott is transformed under the Bab El Hara theme.

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The art of the matter In a competitive market, F&B must be increasingly daring and creative to impress customers — but Middle East chefs and suppliers are rising to the challenge

The Middle East F&B industry has grown significantly over the past few years, to the point where the market — particularly in the main tourism cities — is crammed with diverse outlet concepts, jostling for business. As such, chefs know they have to go more than the extra mile to stand out: they must truly dazzle guests. This is where gastro-art comes in. From sugar statuettes to ice statues and from vegetable showpieces to carved chocolate creations, art is where it’s at when it comes to edible dining décor. What was previously a rare specialism is increasingly coming into play in restaurants around the region, as talented young kitchen artists are sourced by operators to add pizzazz to their outlets.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

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Radisson’s Cagayat creates a pastillage showpiece.

Radisson’s Cagayat receiving one of his many awards.

Elegant creations by Renaissance’s Weerasinghe.

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) kitchen artist Lifeng Dong skill base before they advance to detailed work, as Beach Ro— winner of the Best Kitchen Artist title at Salon Culinaire 2010 tana’s Pillai notes. — has created a range of carvings during his time with DWTC, “First and foremost was my hotel management degree, which from mythical dragons to dolphins, eagles, buildings and people. has given me an insight into a vast repertoire of cooking techThis creativity not only impresses guests, but also gives operaniques, both modern and traditional. tors an edge in culinary competitions, as Rovart Cagayat, the “Since then I have undergone many training sessions related senior kitchen artist at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, to jelly work, molecular gastronomy, pastry presentation — and has consistently demonstrated. then, of course, hours and hours of practice. No training in the “At Salon Culinaire 2010, I achieved one gold, three silver and world works without practice,” he emphasises. two bronze medals in the ice, vegetable and fruit showpiece carvOnce a chef has mastered the basics of food art, there are a ing categories,” he confirms. number of areas in which they can specialise — and in these The Radisson Blu creative team is fields, there is training right down to further bolstered by kitchen artist Rodel the most minute detail. Flaming Sorbet Acala, who was also responsible for the DWTC’s Dong agrees: “I recently From MSK’s range of specialist property’s Salon Culinaire 2010 gold completed a special sugar artwork ingredients, this gellan gum medal in ice carving. training course in France, during which enables a chef to flambé a At Beach Rotana, executive sous chef I practiced a range of techniques for sorbet without it melting. Raghu Pillai has tried his hand at many personalising modern and realistic aspects of food art during the course of sugar subjects, so they appear graceful Freeze-dried Raspberry Crumble his career, but insists the area of edible and lively. With MSK’s freeze-dried fruits, art that intrigues him most is “serving “The topics addressed included furry a raspberry crumble gains tasty food as a work of art on the plate”. or feathered animals, and scenes of not only a burst of flavour “For me, every plate that you present people and animals in artistic settings.” with a crunchy texture, but in a top-end restaurant and in competiAccording to Four Seasons Doha pasalso a vibrant decoration. tions must be a work of art; nowadays its try chef Laurent Allereau, pastry is “one not only what you serve but also how you of the areas in the culinary world which serve a dish,” he observes. gives you a real opportunity to imagine Caviar Pearls An innovative way to decorate Renaissance Dubai Hotel pastry chef and create”. a dish, these ‘caviar pearls’ — Achala Weerasinghe agrees: “Food art “You can make dreams come true with flavoured capsules of liquid does not necessarily stop at showpieces; sugar or chocolate,” he says. — are easy to make, with any every cake or dessert that I create at the “I believe that things are only difficult choice of flavour or colour. hotel holds a bit of artistic value.” to make true because you do not try; as Of course, this artistic approach to food long as you are willing to put in the efMSK Ingredients does not come overnight. fort to make it happen, to make the idea Web: Kitchen artists must build up a solid a reality, then it becomes easy.”

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Ingredient focus Gastro-art

Four Season’s Allereau with chocolate World Cup trophy.

Chocolate Transfers

DWTC’s Dong gets carving.

EMF Emirates Email:

Radisson’s Cagayat sketches out some designs.

Aside from the obvious talent, creativity, determination and dedication, what additional tools does a kitchen artist require to be successful? DWTC’s Dong explains that each field of food art has its own set of specialised equipment. “For example, with ice carving you need a small saw and various sized ice picks, while for fruit and vegetable carvings, tiny and delicate cutting tools are required,” he notes. “For sugar carvings, the right temperature and controlled hu-

Victorinox goes HACCP


Ingredient focus Gastro-art

Pastry perfection from Renaissance’s Weerasinghe.

A creation made from yam by Radisson’s Cagayat.

midity is required, so you need professionally set-up heat lamps to ensure the longevity of the piece.” Such tools, like an artist’s brushes, are often exceedingly precious to their owners. Radisson’s Cagayat comments: “Most of my tools I inherited from my mentor in the Philippines. They are specially designed to work on specific models — for example, there is a special knife and peeler I have for fruits and vegetables, and a wood carver, and the most special tool to me is a traditional ice carver, which is not readily available in Dubai.” However Renaissance’s Weerasinghe notes that today, many of the tools on the market are “expensive and only serve a single purpose”. “During my early years in the industry, I taught myself to use what was naturally found around me, like tubes, bottles, stationery blades and so on, along with the specialised tools I could get my hands on from time to time,” he says. “It may not sound professional, but using things which can be found in everyday life makes my showpieces more natural and environmental, and also brings about interesting shapes that many chefs find it hard to render.” Four Seasons’ Allereau confesses that he also likes to “think out of the box” when it comes to tools. “If I do not have one of the professional tools, nevermind: I look around and try to use whatever I can find,” he reveals. “I like to spend some time, while I am in Europe, visiting hardware stores and believe it or not, I have found a lot of tools which are usually used for the gardening, or painting, or other DIY jobs, which are very practical and incredibly effective in carving chocolate.” The final item is also of vital importance: the product the chef is working with. Whether the end result must sit on a buffet for several hours, or hold together whilst being transported to a competition, the material used must be of exactly the right temperature, consistency and sturdiness.

Radisson’s Acala does some ‘cool’ carving.

DWTC’s Dong explains: “When using the medium of chocolate, a carving can last four or five months in controlled temperatures. “Sugar is much more sensitive to humidity and, unless packaged in an airtight glass enclosure, will only last two or three months. “And ice will obviously melt in warm temperatures, but will last approximately two hours — depending on the size and design — if on display at room temperature.” In the creation of certain varieties of food art, a helping hand can be given with fixers such as gelatine or edible varnish.

DWTC’s Dong: making it look ‘ice’ and easy.

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Ingredient focus Gastro-art

Edible art from Renaissance’s Weerasinghe.

A pastillage sugar showpiece by Radisson’s Cagayat.

Beach Rotana’s Pillai notes: “Many variations of gelatin are available in the market, which give different textures to food and also help achieve a better keeping quality. But it is very important to use them in the right quantity and in the right way, to achieve the desired effect.” Four Seasons’ Allereau expands: “A few professional suppliers such Patisfrance, Decorelief and PCB provide very good products to maintain a shiny appearance on chocolate, and even varnish for sugar work to protect against humidity.”

Chocolate World Cup trophy by Four Season’s Allereau.

But not all food art requires additional support, as Radisson’s Cagayat explains. “There are special ingredients which are used widely, but I do not use any of those. I simply spray water on the vegetable carving, so that it remains fresh until the event is finished.” Like all artists, chefs have their preferred methods, tools and disciplines — and it is thanks to the growing diversity of this field that gastro-art is advancing in leaps and bounds across the Middle East.

FILTER COFFEE BREWERS & WATER BOILERS Marco Beverage Systems Ltd Unit 74 Sandyford Industrial Estate Dublin 18 Ireland Telephone: +44 1 295 2674 Fax: +44 1 295 3715 Email:




FOR ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT: Diarmuid O’Malley Publishing Director Tel: +971 4 210 8568 E-mail:

Sarah Worth Commercial Director Tel: +971 4 210 8595 E-mail:

ITP BUSINESS PUBLISHING CO. LTD. Al Hilal Building PO Box 500024, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 210 8000, Fax: +971 4 210 8080, Email:,

Supplier news July 2010

Supplier news

ChocArts sweetens up hotels and airlines New chocolate brand targets hotels, airlines and event companies in Middle East and Asia Newly launched company ChocArts is already enjoying success in the Middle East market, signing a deal with Kempinski after just two months in business. The brand, created by entrepreneur Frank Andreu, produces handmade, halal, fairtrade chocolate with branded packaging, for businesses to sell or give to their clients. Commenting on the line’s initial success, Andreu said: “We’ve been active for two months, but things are already taking off. “I wanted to focus on hotels, airlines and event companies, so the first step was going to these groups and seeing how they reacted — and so far I’ve had good feedback in terms of volumes, prices and deliveries.” As the brand’s chief executive, Andreu has

a clear development plan for future of the new business, and is currently working on a project with Emirates Airline as well as pursuing other airline business. “We have observed that the airlines are going very well, so are keen to create concepts for them; and once we have one airline convinced, we can go for the next. We see a lot of business here and it’s something we want to focus on,” Andreu said. The decision to pursue the Middle East market was determined by product demand and ease of business in the region, he added. “We have 70% room usage here and you don’t have that in Germany, so it is a nice business base. We have been to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Egypt, which are

ChocArts’ Frank Andreu. the places which hotels and airlines seem to be focusing on too. “We see great scope for development in the Middle East and Asia, which isn’t there in Europe or America anymore,” he said.

HABC opens Middle East office Get a handle Awarding body to provide customised qualifications in region on microbes Last month saw the official launch of the Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance, Middle East and Asia (HABC MEA), at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai. The event, which included speeches from Highfield managing director Christian Sprenger and HABC chief executive Jason Sprenger, marked the launch of HABC’s base in the region, with a new office in Dubai. “About 125 people came, from all different sectors: trainers, organisers from hotels, as well as officials from the Municipality and ambulance services,” said Christian Sprenger. Prior to the launch of HABC MEA, the company was servicing the Middle East from its base in the UK, which meant people often had to wait to get their results back. “One of the major things when people do an exam is that they want to get their results as soon as possible, because they are eager

to know. Now we can actually process them quickly,” Jason Sprenger explained. The qualifications available cover various areas, from F&B outlets to manufacturers. “They will be aimed at restaurants and hotels, with different programmes depending on the type of establishment, so not everybody will have to have the same qualification — and this has never happened before,” Jason Sprenger said.

HABC chief executive Jason Sprenger.

Convotherm has recently equipped its mini combi steamers with the ‘Hygenic Handle’, an antibacterial door handle which has already been sucessfully used with the +3 combi steamer series. The handle — which is made of a plastic material with embedded silver ions — retains its antibacterial quality permanently and is medically and ecologically harmless. Using the antibacterial handle makes working with the combi steamer particularly sanitary, as there is no bacteria or microbe transfer from the door handle onto GN containers or plates. The handle also makes a further contribution to the environment as there is no need to use agressive and potentially environmentally harmful products to clean the door handle.

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Supplier news July 2010

F&B suppliers face up to market challenges Suppliers concerned that chefs under pressure to stick to budgets are looking at price over quality High-end foodservice suppliers are reportedly facing challenging times, as the Middle East market recovers after the economic slowdown. Speaking at the recent French food fair L’Apéritif à la française, held at Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach, Lactalis International sales director for the Middle East, Dany Abi Khalil, said the biggest challenge in the market today was that “everyone is tightening their belts and decreasing F&B budgets”. “Being a quality brand with quality products, it’s a bit difficult, because we do not want to compromise on that,” he said. “But then we do need to meet the needs of our users.” EMF Emirates general manager Pierre Feghali agreed that “many customers are looking more at price than quality”. “They are increasingly ready to jeopardise quality to get a better price — and this

Sopexa’s Santier with French consul general Nada Yafi. is because they are having difficulties with budgets,” he observed. Feghali noted that following high occupancies in previous years, hoteliers were under pressure to generate similar revenue today, despite changes in the economy. “After lowering room rates, which is where the majority of hotel revenue

comes from, they have to make budget cut-backs somewhere, and all too often that area is F&B. “But hopefully we will see the market moving back towards quality in time,” he added. L’Apéritif à la française organiser Sopexa Middle East’s managing director, Eric Santier, said he believed the cost of quality items was “probably one of the biggest issues facing F&B professionals today”. “I think chefs are under more pressure to drive revenue, so they have to really check everything that’s available in the market,” he asserted. “But hopefully quality — of the sort we have seen here at the show — will speak for itself in the long term.” Commenting on the success of the 2010 edition of the trade event, Santier added that he felt there was still growth potential for French products in the region, “particularly in the foodservice area”.

Sosa showcase captures UAE chefs’ imagination Innovative inventions from Sosa make it easier for Middle East chefs to be creative in the kitchen Emirates Snack Foods last month kicked off a week-long road show of demonstrations showcasing its Sosa product line, to chefs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The launch event, which was held at Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, displayed a variety of Sosa products to chefs from various establishments across Dubai. Emirates Snack Foods (ESF) managing director Ron Daniel Pilnik said: “Sosa is one of our more recent partners from Spain. They offer ingredients to make chefs’ lives easier and more interesting; they make existing things simpler and


Caterer Middle East July 2010

faster; and on top of that, they deliver new things that chefs have never even dreamed about before.” One of the products demonstrated was the Algianate, which allows chefs to make ‘caviar’ style liquid-filled capsules from ingredients such as fruit or coffee. ESF corporate chef and area sales manager Soufiane Raji said of the product: “It solves a lot of problems in the kitchen. “If you store fruit outside it can go off or colour, but with this tool you can create a shiny product which lasts for a long time. So we are giving solutions to the chefs to help them in their jobs.”

Sosa representative Jordi Puigvert added: “These products allow chefs the freedom to transform classic recipes.”

Emirates Snack Foods’ Ron Daniel Pilnik.

Love... at first bite YOUR LOGO

For sponsorship opportunities please contact: Diarmuid O’Malley Publishing Director Tel: + 971 4 210 8568 Mob: + 971 50 559 7339 Email:

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People Nestlé competition

e v i t a e r c t Chefs ge with Maggi

unch Nestlé’s competition to la bouillon the new Maggi chicken arded saw the winning chef aw ris a ‘trip of a lifetime’ to Pa


Pan-fried scallops with carrot purée,

chicken milk foam and buttered asparagus

Main Slow-poached chicken roulade with celery and beef bacon, onion confit,mashedpotato and chicken and tarragon cream

Nestlé Professional took an innovative approach to launching a new product last month, hosting a culinary competition as a platform to introduce their latest offering. Contestants were given one-and-a-half-hours to create a starter and a main course, using the new Maggi chicken bouillon geared exclusively towards professional kitchens. Held at The Address Dubai Marina, the gathering was the largest competitive event of its kind to be held in the region, with 50 chefs vying for the top spot — and the prize of a trip to Paris. After a heated competition, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach chef de partie Gerard Ludowyke was awarded first place. The Address Hotel Dubai Marina’s Nick Vass came in second and The Address Hotel Downtown’s Daniel Edward took third, while the winner of the Hygiene Award was Ajesh Gopi, from The Bonnington Hotel.


Caterer Middle East July 2010

[Top left] The

competitors get cooking. [Above] The happy

winners, in front of a copy

of the Mona Lisa. [Left] Nestlé ’s

Mary-Ann Gardner.

Nestlé brand manager Mary-Ann Gardner said the group had wanted to launch the new Maggi line “in a way that would inspire chefs to be creative with the product”. “We started from the idea of holding the largest cooking competition in the Middle East, and it just grew from there,” she explained. “We really wanted to launch to highlight to the chefs the three key applications of this product,” Gardner continued. “Firstly there’s dry use — the cubes crumble easily, so you can use it as a seasoning or a dry marinade. “Secondly there’s the liquid format, using it as a stock, to poach things, for a sauce base, and so on. “And finally, the health angle comes into play: we want chefs to know that this is a health-conscious line, with no preservatives, 20% less salt and 5% less fat.” Commenting on the grand prize, Gardner explained that winning

People Nestlé competition

j dges had a [Ab [Above]] The judges difficult task selecting a winner. [Below] The Nestlé ladies strike a pose.

[Above] Contestants had one-and-ahalf hours to create two courses, using the

new Maggi chicken bouillon geared towards professional chefs.

[Top left] The

contenders pick their produce as the event gets going.

[Above] Nestlé ’s advisory chef and one of the event judges, Zain Sidhu.

A WORD FROM M THE WINNER: “It feels amazing to

have won. I have taken en part in a few competitor Ludowyke would be awarded a three-night stay in Paris for himself and his executive chef. “It’s an incredible experience, really — once in a lifetime,” she said. “They’ll get a three-night stay at the renowned Hôtel de Crillon; a ticket to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa; a ticket to see the famed French cabaret Lido; and a day trip to the city’s famous food market. “The market trip will give them the opportunity to buy some of their favourite ingredients, which they will then get to cook with the world-renowned chefs in Le Crillon kitchen,” Gardner continued. “It’s a personal day of enjoyment for them.”

competitions but this is the first time I’ve won, so I am very happy, surprised and proud for myself and my hotel.

“The trip to Paris is a once in a lifetime chance; to visit

such a famous hotel and be able to learn and watch what

they do there is an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“I would like to thank Nestlé for this incredible prize -

and for giving me the opportunity to take part in such a great competition.”

Gerard Ludowyke, chef de partie, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


A tea with character

Sole DiStributorS: Sh. Zayed Road, Dubai, U.A.E. Phone: +971 4 34 33 478 Fax: +971 4 34 33 498

F&B essentials Cutlery and crockery

Tableware sales climb after slow start Villeroy & Boch says initial sales decrease in Q1 has given way to positive growth Sales figures for tableware giant Villeroy & Boch Group during the first quarter of 2010 have revealed a decrease of 2.4% year-on-year. The group’s hotel and restaurant division head of sales, Burkhard Schmidt, commented: “In the first three month of 2010, the Villeroy & Boch Group generated sales of €177.9 (US $218.4) million, compared with €182.2 ($223.7) million in the same period the previous year — reflecting a slight decrease. “However while sales remained down on the previous year in January and February, they returned to positive territory for the first time in March,” he continued. Schmidt claimed that table-

Villeroy & Boch’s Burkhard Schmidt.

A Ronai Tablekraft is already a well established brand in Australia. It is manufactured from the highest quality 18/10 stainless steel and the designs range from traditional classics to contemporary lines. All Tablekraft products are attractive and perfectly suited for their purpose, while the high quality of the product guarantees durability. Along with a commitment to maintaining top quality, design, reliability and innovation, Tablekraft


ware sector sales had shown recovery worldwide after the start-of-year slump, with Asia recording an increase of 31.4%, and good developments in China, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain — with group sales up 11.6%. Schmidt added that, despite initial sales figures, 2010 had yielded some positive developments for the firm. “The operating result (EBIT) improved significantly in the first quarter of 2010 to €3.7 ($4.5) million, up €11.3 ($13.9) million on the previous year figures of €7.6 ($9.3) million. “This development reflects the restructuring and cost reduction measure initiated in the previous year,” he said.

Bahraja has quickly proven to be a very popular addition to the wide A Ronai portfolio of products. A Ronai LLC Tel: +971 4 341 4409 Fax: +971 4 341 4457 Email: Web:

Caterer Middle East July 2010

Nikko Company, Japan, has been producing high quality chinaware for hotels and restaurants since 1908. Nikko offers designs and shapes that range from contemporary chic to classical to casual tableware, that will enhance any occasion. With high standards of production and design, Nikko Company, Japan has proudly served fine hotels and restaurants worldwide for 100 years. Bahraja Trading LLC Tel: +971 4 267 2353 Fax: +971 4 267 2353 Email:

Everstyle Robbe and Berking sterling silver and silver plated cutlery from Germany features charming details, executed with meticulous craftsmanship, lending the pattern a very special aesthetic quality. A delicate shaped band, which comes in either gold or silver, goes around the contour of the handle of the piece. They are available in 925/000 sterling silver and 150g silver plated. Everstyle Trading LLC Tel: +971 6 531 4106 Fax: +971 6 531 4460 Email: Web:

O’Cocoon The new Taj concept is designed by Artichaut and produced by Pillivuyt, France. The latest porcelain collection from Artichaut/Pillivuyt hospitality, fulfilling a range of dining needs, is currently available at O’Cocoon. O’Cocoon Emirates LLC Tel: +971 2 681 8248 Fax: +971 2 681 8249 Email:

Villeroy & Boch Damasco Hotel and Look Hotel are manufactured from exquisite fine china in high quality designs. These two appealing porcelain sets have been specially geared towards large-scale hospitality projects, and are ideal as starter sets. The 32 piece lines offer the ideal ambience for personalised banquet design that will thrill guests everywhere. Villeroy & Boch Tel: +352 468 211 Fax: +352 469 022 Email Web:

Product showcase Events equipment

The main event From chairs to chocolate, Caterer highlights products to make your event a success



The crystal range of decorative lighting from Airstar offers the perfect solution for illumination, design and decoration, with a high-end customer base spanning five continents. The product is self-inflating and can be mounted on a stand or suspended. Available in different sizes, it can be used both indoors and outside, and customised with different logos or colours.

The ShowMaster is a mobile refrigerated display case in a sleek design with smooth edges, providing hygienic presentation of food. Whether a salad bar, breakfast buffet or dessert display case, the ShowMaster is suitable for all food products, guaranteeing long lasting freshness. All refrigerating and electrical parts are made of proven low maintenance or maintenance-free components.

Airstar Tel: +971 4 885 4907 Fax: +971 4 885 4906 Email: Web:

JM Posner The firm’s chocolate fountains are available in models SQ2 30-inch and SQ3 43-inch. Both models are made from 304 polished stainless steel with a new unique modern design and come with a five-year parts and two-year labour warranty. JM Posner commercial catering products are supplied to the UAE exclusively through EveryStyle Trading. EveryStyle Trading LLC Tel: +971 50 481 0735 Fax: +971 6 53 14460 Email: Web:

ShowMaster Vertriebs GmbH Tel: +49 431 648 0621 Email: Web:


The polycarbonate chair by Contempo Events Design is available to hire for events and commercial venues. The simple style of the chair makes it extremely versatile as it can go with any colour scheme or décor. It is also possible to change the colour of the seat or add a sash tie to the chair to finish the look. Contempo Tel: +971 4 332 0077 Fax: +971 4 332 0277 Email: Web:

Twisttable This unique table is not only attractive in design but also environmentally friendly, made from 80% recycled cardboard. The 3mm-thick corrugated cardboard flat pack can be turned into a chic table in a minute — and when finished with, can be folded back down and stored for the next party.

The product is strong and durable, but also conveniently light and can be branded with company logos, text or images as required. Artigala Tel: +33 14 546 0516 Email: Web:

July 2010 Caterer Middle East


Supplier Product showcase

New products Every month, Caterer Middle East brings you the best and brightest new F&B products


Concordia IBS4

Amedei chocolate is created by Alessio Tessieri and maître chocolatier Cecilia Tessieri, who use ingredients selected in their native countries and crafted in Amedei’s factory in Pontedera, Italy. The firm completely controls the production chain, from bean to bar, creating chocolate with raw ingredients from the world’s finest cocoa plantations.

The Concordia IBS4, available from Coffee Planet, offers a full café menu in one compact system. The IBS4 replaces multiple machines saving both space and cost. Menu options include americano, espresso shots, latte, cappuccino, mocha, chai latte, hot chocolate, hot water for tea, flavored lattes and cappuccinos, as well as custom creations. The IBS4 also makes iced drinks.

Amedei Srl Tel: +39 58 748 4849 Email: Web:

Coffee Planet Tel: +971 4 341 5537 Fax: +971 4 341 5536 Email: Web:

La Cornue

The Rocket The dual pre-infusion system of The Rocket coffee machine from Raw Coffee Company results in a smooth coffee extraction with optimum aroma, body and crema. The machine has a full net weight of 23kg and a 1.8 litre boiler. It is microprocessor controlled and has a commercial E614kg brewing head. Raw Coffee Company Tel: +971 50 55 36808 Email: Web: www.rawcoffeecompany. com/

The Château line by La Cornue has added an aquamarinecoloured model to its range. La Cornue now boasts no fewer than 25 different colours and 12 finishes, including chrome, stainless steel and brass, available for each of the eight Château models. The solid brass, 6 kW burners not only give amazing performance but also save energy — up to 25% compared to their predecessors. Carpe Diem/ La Cornue Chapelle Tel: +971 4 344 4734 Fax: +971 4 344 3663 Email: Web:

Comenda GMC flight dishwasher


The Comenda GMC flight dishwasher is a fully automatic dishwasher, which is part of the GMC line of circular flight washers. These models are complete and compact, with a fully automatic washing system for use in canteens, snack bars and self-service cafeterias. Its small size also permits optimisation

Caterer Middle East July 2010

at all stages of dishwashing for rapid, high quality service. Comenda Ali SpA Tel: +39 02 952 281 Fax: +39 02 952 1510 Email: Web:

Distributors & supplies directory Distributors ABC Baking Tel: 009714 885 3788 Email:

B.A.K. (Oman) Tel: +968 - 2459 1065 Fax : +968 - 2459 6270 Email:

Country Hill International Tel: +971 4 347 0200 Email:

Emf Emirates Tel: +971 4 2861166 Fax: +971 4 2863080 Email:

Lactalis International Tel: +971 4 3298061 Email:

La Marquise Tel: +971 4 343 3478 Email:

Baqer Mohebi Tel: +971 4 396 9777 Email: (Marketing & distribution of food & non food FMCG, food ingredients & Cuban Cigars)

Suppliers BEVERAGES Boncafe Tel: +971 4 2828742 Email:

Franke Tel: +41 6 2787 3607

Lavazza Tel: +971 50 5959385 Fax: +971 4 3211274 Email:

Marco Beverages Tel: 01933 666 488 Email:

Monin Tel: +971 50 940 0918 Email:

Horeca Trade Llc Tel: +971 4 3403330 Email:



Tulsidas Lalchand

Al Diyafa Tel: 009714 369 2888 Email:

Clearwater Seafoods

Tel: +971 4 881 5552 Email:

Tel: 001 902 443 0550 Email:


Giles & Posner Tel: +44 1923 234040 Fax: +44 1923 245151 Email:

Tel: +971 4 408 8100 Email:

Tel: +971 50 6447837 Email:

Tel: +41 318 585111 Email:

COOKING Convotherm Tel: +49 884 7670 Email:

MKN Tel: +49 5 3 318 9207 Email:

Johnson Diversey Gulf Fze Tel: +971 4 881 9470

MGK/Temptrak Tel: 009714 3309071

Newell Rubbermaid Tel: +971 4 292 3444 Email:

RESTAURANT/ HOTEL SUPPLIES Churchill China Tel: +44 1782 524371 Email:

Schaerer Nestlé Professional Tel: +971 4 408 8100 Email:

Pritchitts Tel: 02082907020 Email:

Quraish Tel: +966 2 6532441 Email:

Tel: +971 2 6730 565 Email:

TSSC Tel: +971 4 343 1100 Email: (Catering/kitchen equipment, chocolate/ coffee equipment, FMCG, refrigeration)

JSD Products Tel: +44 1727 841111 Email:


Unilever Foodsolutions

Lambweston Nestlé Professional

Tel: +971 4 3533736 Email:

Tel: +971 4 2675406 Email:

Tel: +49 421 3502 387 Email:

Shura Trading

Tel: +9714 - 285 2222

Bakemart Llc

CSM Deutschland GmbH

Fax : +9714 - 222 2900 Email:

Dalebrook Supplies Ltd

Tel: 009714 334 1040 Email:

Royal Host Tel: +966 2 2522289 Email:

Villeroy and Boch Tel: +352 46821208 Email:

CATERING EQUIPMENT Electrolux Professional Tel: +39 0434380304 Email:

Koma Middle East Tel: 9714 887 3334 Email:

Robot Coupe Tel: 0033 143 988833 Email:


Tel: 0044 1376 510101 Email:

Duni AB Tel: +46 40 10 62 00 Fax: +46 40 39 66 30 Email:

Impulse Enterprises Tel: 001 954 9579917 Email:

Dick Tel: +49 7 153 8170 Email:

Victorinox AG Tel: +41 41 818 12 64 Email:

Appointments July 2010

Appointments The Westin Dubai and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina has appointed Stefano Viola as chef de cuisine at Italian outlet, Bussola. After graduating from the Institute of Hotel and Tourism in Sardinia in 1992, Viola joined the Hotel San Marco in Valtellina, Italy, a role which was followed by stints in Gran Canaria, Kenya and London. Notable achievements include his role as executive chef at Sienna’s Michelin-star Ristorante Re Di Macchia, and having run his own Mediterranean outlet.

The Media One Hotel Dubai has welcomed Nicolas Valero as the property’s new executive chef. French national Valero began his career at the Michelinstarred restaurant, L’Auberge Du Cheval Blanc in Bayonne, after which his culinary talent and passion led him to other roles at top restaurants across France. After postings in Martinique and Greece, he came to Dubai and undertook roles at various top properties in the emirate. Valero’s focus at Media One will be on “good, simple, wellprepared dishes”.

Ajaz Sheikh has taken on the role of director of operations at Zuma Dubai. Sheikh recently relocated to Dubai to join the restaurant’s dynamic team, but has honed his F&B knowledge in top operations around the world. His extensive restaurant industry experience includes working with three-Michelin starred chef Heinz Beck and managing F&B operations at The Lanesborough in London. Sheikh said the move to Dubai was “a great opportunity for me to be involved with the Zuma concept, as well as to broaden my horizons”.

Asaad Haddad has joined Media Rotana Dubai as assistant director of food and beverage. Haddad brings with him seven years of industry experience, having worked with several international hotel chains in Dubai and Cyprus. Most recently, Haddad played an integral part in the pre-opening team at another of Rotana’s properties in the UAE — Yas Island Rotana. Commenting on his appointment, Haddad said: “I am looking forward to being able to use my experience to make a real difference in the F&B department at Media Rotana Dubai.”

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Dates for the diary Calendar


























01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 July 1-3 AGRENA 2010 Cairo, Egypt

July 14-16 ProPak China 2010 Shanghai, China

retail industries.

Technology Expo Tokyo, Japan

The 12th edition of this exhibition will focus on poultry, livestock and fish, showcasing the latest technology, products and services available to the MENA region.

A networking platform for industry professionals in the processing and packaging field. Running simultaneously at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre will be DairyTek China and BevTek & BrewTek China.

July 20-24 Muscat Sweet & Food Exhibition Muscat, Oman

Seafood industry event displaying new products and technologies, food processing machinery, kitchen equipment, cooking appliances and more. July 4-7 WineTech 2010 Adelaide, Australia The Australian Wine Industry Trade Exhibition is an international wine, beer and spirits exhibition, attracting a larger trade audience than any other event of its type in Australia. July 15-18 Thailand Retail Food & Hospitality Services Bangkok, Thailand Thailand Retail Food & Hospitality Services (TRAFS) will showcase equipment, supplies and ingredients for the HORECA and

Highlighting new developments in ingredients, packaging and preservation, the show will also mark the 40th anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said coming to power in Oman, by trying to set a new world record for the biggest chicken kabssa dish. foodex.htm July 21-23 12th Japan Int’l Seafood & seafood/e_tokyo_index.html July 22-24 MIFB 2010 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The Malaysia International Food & Beverage Trade Fair brings together F&B industry professionals from around the world to network and explore business opportunities.

Last bite Interview Gallery

On Camera Caterer

The Caterer snappers were out and about at last month’s F&B events — were you caught on camera?

Apéritif à la française — the annual sh case for Fr owench F&B pr oducts — to this month at ok place Sofitel Dub ai Jumeirah promoting an Beach, array of gour met goodies.

a cigar ndo enjoys Eliza Oque i’s hosted eb g, in oh Baqer M egend even L a ib oh . Cigar ’s C n Square at the firm ubai’s Tow D t t io rr at JW Ma

Okku’s Tom as Dundulis beat stiff co to win the UA mpetition E World Cla ss Bartende Year event r of the at Buddha Bar, and wi represent th ll go on to e UAE at th e global final in Athens.

56 6

Caterer Middle East July 2010

enthusiats turned out in forc e to hear industry expert and Habanos Man of the Year Simon Chase shared his knowled ge of Cuban cigars.

es held oodservic Brands F Chef ry t Fonterra s a Anchor P er ev t last rs the fi i Culinarium t its Duba a ed e ng nt le lle Cha ms of ta ch 24 tea hi w in h, t mon

young kitchen professionals competed for the title under the wat chful eye of Fonterra’s advisory chef, Pet er Hallmanns. Keep an eye online for news of the winners!

Caterer Middle East - July 2010  

Caterer Middle East - July 2010 - ITP Business

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